You know you’re a National Board Candidate if……

March 31st had come and gone. I wonder how many boxes are making their way to San Antonio as I type this. I wish safe travels to all those boxes and my sincerest congratulations to all those who have placed their trust and hard work in the hands of FedEx, UPS, or the United States Post Office.

I am reminded of my own National Bard process. I am in the process of preparing my box as well. As an advanced candidate, my box is supposed to be postmarked by April 15th. I sent my first box off last year. When scores were released, I did not obtain a high enough score to achieve. I let myself fall apart for a day. Then, I acknowledged how much I had grown as an educator because of the process and realized how important is was to me to reach my goal. I dusted myself off and quickly began planning my new portfolio. When I reapplied, I learned  I was now an “Advanced” candidate. That made me smile. It also made me wonder about my students. I teach 2nd grade and sometimes I have students who do not achieve 3rd grade so they have to redo 2nd grade. Does that make them “Advanced” 2nd graders?

Now that I am about done with my retake portfolio, there are certain things that I have noticed about National Board Candidates.

You know you’re a National Board Candidate if the sight of a box makes you panic as you wonder what is supposed to go inside it and when are you supposed to have it postmarked by.

You know you’re a National Board Candidate if you rush home after school on April 1st to get to your computer so you can work on your portfolio before you realize that it was mailed off yesterday.

You know you’re a National Board Candidate if you sit down to compose an e-mail and you immediately look in the top corner to see how much time you have left.

You know you’re a National Board Candidate if you are (fill in the blank with any activity) and you wonder “How will this impact student achievement?”

You know you’re a National Board Candidate if anything from your printer has to have a one inch margin.

And finally, you know you’re a National Board Candidate if you want the best for your students and the best for your profession.

Here’s to all you NBCT candidates! Congratulations on this huge accomplishment! And now that you have some “free” time, look to see what you recognize in other candidates.






Donnie Dicus

Donnie Dicus

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Donnie Dicus and I have been teaching in Arizona for 12 years. I came to Arizona from Southern Illinois to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson. I graduated in 2003 and began teaching second grade. I taught second grade in Tucson for 8 years before moving to Phoenix. I now teach third grade. I achieved National Board Certification in 2012 and I received my Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in 2015. I achieved a National Board Certificate in Middle Childhood Generalist in 2012. I’ve been teaching mainstream and SEI 3rd grade classrooms in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix since 2013. I taught 2nd grade and was a math interventionist in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District. I’ve been a technology coach and have helped teachers apply technology to improve instruction. I facilitate coaching cohorts for teachers going through the National Board process and organize peer groups at my site to pair new teachers with experienced teachers. In 2010 I was nominated as a Rodel Semi-Finalist for Exemplary teaching in 2010 and featured as a Teacher Leader in February 2016 by the Arizona K12 Center.
I have class pictures of every single student I have taught behind my desk on my wall. After 12 years, that is approximately 350 students. My students know that this is my Wall of Accomplishments. I am so proud of the difference I made in their lives. I became a teacher to make a difference and I strive to do so every day.

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